Pg. 126 Mam­moth Moun­tain’s Back­coun­try

Sled­ding and Ski­ing The Sier­ras

Chill Factor - - Introduction - By Thomas Wad­dell Pho­tos by Tom Christie

Thomas Wad­dell heads out wide from Mam­moth Moun­tain and finds end­less ter­rain and plenty of pow­der

Af­ter the storm passed, and the pow­der we had been ski­ing in the re­sort at Mam­moth Moun­tain had all been tracked out, we were for­tu­nate enough to be able to have easy and quick ac­cess to the Sierra back­coun­try.

Mam­moth Re­sort grooms and main­tains trails for sleds and snow shoers to eas­ily ac­cess amaz­ing snow and ter­rain out the back of the re­sort. My good friend Josh Trosky, a kid who grew up ski­ing around the Mam­moth area, took me out on his snow­mo­bile and showed me some amaz­ing ar­eas where we just skied and had fun. The feel­ing of ski­ing big open runs with your friends in the mid­dle of nowhere with no one else around is some­thing that you don’t for­get. It starts to get pretty ad­dic­tive, you end up go­ing day af­ter day and rid­ing home in the dark, freez­ing cold, but stoked and ready to do it all again the next day.

The ar­eas we skied the most were about a 30 minute ride out from Mam­moth. We had a lit­tle rou­tine go­ing each time we went out. First we’d do a few warm up runs by shut­tling each other to the top and en­joy­ing the fresh snow on the open face runs first thing in the morn­ing. Ski­ing down in un­tracked snow, in the mid­dle of nowhere, with your friends rid­ing the sled back down be­side you… that’s hard to beat.

Af­ter do­ing this a few times we’d head off ex­plor­ing to find a good site to build a jump. We ended up find­ing a per­fect wind lip that stretched al­most the whole dis­tance of the clear­ing. Build­ing a de­cent sized jump is a lot of hard work, and it’s not as fun or as easy as it looks in the movies. About an hour and a half of dig­ging out cubes and plac­ing them on top of each other, and shap­ing it all to­gether, we were done.

Hit­ting a jump you have worked on by hand is a re­ally re­ward­ing feel­ing, es­pe­cially when you get to lap it with your mates time and time again, all push­ing each other to go a lit­tle big­ger each

THIS IMAGE: Thomas gets things mov­ing with a flat-spin three.

OP­PO­SITE: TOP: Hav­ing your own pri­vate sled makes things a lot eas­ier … and faster. BOT­TOM: Some times, half the fun is just cruis­ing around hit­ting lit­tle wind lips.

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